Excerpts from CH1: A Romantic Wrestler
Claudine Is Here In Frankfurt
Karl’s gaze turned to Claudine and hardened. Claudine thought he looked like a vulture, with his liver-spotted, wrinkly head and beak-like nose. “You know, we were resting when the pair of you came in here and woke us up, so can you just give me a minute, Pauline?!” he said. “And another thing, you should stop harassing my son for money! That’s all I’ve heard him talk to you on the phone about, is money, money, money! And since you barged in that door all I’ve heard is money, money, money! You’re not really worried about Drew!” He gave her one final glare before he retreated back to the kitchen. “Drew, you know that’s not true!” said Claudine. “I’ve been worried sick about you, obviously for good reason, too. I came here to bring you home!” “Our Claudine’s not like that, Dad,” shouted Drew, wincing in pain. “C’mon now, you’re just… crabby because you’re tired.” Stefan seemed to notice the wince. He crouched down to get a better look at Drew. “Oh, please, for God’s sake Drew, let’s just go,” urged Claudine. “Let’s get your trainers and we can just go to the hospital, eh?” Drew didn’t seem to be listening. His face was contorted with pain. He leaned over and pulled up his training pants at the cuff, which was cut up the inside seam to give him easy access to his ankle. Claudine saw how thick the ankle was, wrapped in yards of elastic bandage. Stefan grabbed a brown ottoman with a suspicious greyish stain on it and dragged it over. He helped Drew get his ankle onto the ottoman, where he and Claudine carefully unwound the bandaging. Drew laid his head back and moaned. “Unwrap the bandages. They’re dead tight!” Drew said. He breathed loud and slowly as they unwrapped it yard by yard. When it was finally revealed, Claudine thought she might be sick. His entire calf was badly bruised, and all around the ankle and foot the colour was so dark it was almost black, with yellow and blue bruising on the edges. His toes were like fat green and purple caterpillars. His toenails appeared disproportionately small and looked like they didn’t belong on these grossly swollen toes. It didn’t look like the foot was connected to the leg and shin bone at all. The extreme swelling continued all the way up into his knee, and his skin was tight and shiny because there was so much fluid retention. Claudine gasped in horror as she looked closer at his ankle. It was the worst injury she had ever seen in her life. She tenderly touched the hard, swollen calf. “Oh my God, Drew!” was all she could say.